The Instagram platform has launched a live test of a new feature called Map Search in Australia and New Zealand, which enables users to discover businesses and locations of interest via the in-app map, and find information about each business listed, in addition to public posts tagged with this site.
Users with access to the new option are asked to click on the map icon at the top right of the Discover tab, and it is then linked to the new Maps search experience, which highlights mainly cafes and restaurants, as well as shops, entertainment venues and more.
When you click on one of the new site tags, it expands and shows more information about that place, and for companies, this includes opening hours, address, and price information, as well as contact through their IG profile, and a grid view of public posts tagged in this site.
Pricing information is supposed to be added to business profiles across the platform, providing an option for brands to choose their price list on the screen, which could be, for restaurants, an estimated average price for each meal, and the ticket price for entertainment venues.
This add-on provides a more direct connection between Instagram and businesses, an element that the platform is increasingly seeking to emphasize, through tools such as stores and new promotion options.
Instagram is focused on discovering businesses
The platform says that more than 200 million businesses use Instagram every month, while 90% of its users follow at least one business, and as such simplifying this connection aligns with both usage habits and increased business demand.
The feature is similar to Snapchat's advanced map tool, which now also displays business information in the same way.
Snapchat added a "My Favorite Places" feature to its map in July, which highlights popular businesses, as well as places you've visited previously, via the map display.
Location stories are also back, where public stories are shared using the location tag, and now also appear across the map view, with a rounded image (instead of a square) and a colored Stories ring.
When you click on it, you can search public stories from specific sites. And you can drag the map around to check out the site's stories from around the world.
In October last year, the platform removed the site's stories, as part of temporary changes to the platform before elections in the United States, which are designed to limit the spread of misinformation.
After 10 months of absence, the feature is back again but within the map, where you can view stories by location again, which was much requested by users.